Gannett: TV Revenue Drops Less Than Publishing

Gannett Corp. saw a 7.3 percent drop in television revenues for the first quarter of 2008 compared with the year-ago quarter. But TV did better for Gannett than the company’s larger publishing arm, where advertising dropped 10.2 percent.

Gannett reported overall profits for the quarter of $191.8 million (84 cents a share), a small drop from $210.6 million (90 cents a share) in first quarter of 2007. Revenue fell 8.4 percent to $1.68 billion.

At Gannett’s publishing businesses, classified revenue dropped 16 percent, led by a 24.2 percent drop in real estate ad revenue.

The company said the $12.8 million drop in broadcasting revenue came despite a $4.2 million increase in political advertising. Gannett blamed the drop on the soft economy and the broadcast of the Super Bowl on Fox instead of CBS.

Gannett predicted that television revenues in the second quarter would lag behind last year’s “in the mid to high single digits.”

Gannett operates 23 TV stations in addition to its 85 daily newspapers (including USA Today) and nearly 900 nondaily publications.